Perfectionism in Design

Design reflections from moving home

Perfectionism, as I understood it; has been a good friend for most of my life. As a Designer I’d call it, precision, attention to detail, a preference for things being proportional … and it has definitely been an asset.
I can scan for misspellings in seconds (yes it applies to words too, even if English is my 2nd language), I can see when something is misaligned, there’s a bolded font that shouldn’t be there, or there’s too much padding between elements.

As a Graphic Designer, before websites, most of my work was print based. Packaging, brochures, annual reports, art books and even point of sale material. The millimetres did count, we needed to fit the correct information in pre-assigned spaces, determined by the paper sizes, the folding, the glue, the press sizes and so on. So before going to print I had to make sure that everything was indeed ‘perfect’. After all we’d be printing quantities; 200.000 brochures, 10.000 boxes for example. The attention to detail and precision in the artwork preparation was key, and a great skill to posses as a Designer. The client’s investment was somehow dependant on my eye for perfection.

Fast forward to websites. Websites don’t get printed.

And.. EVERYTHING moves. And I mean everything. Screen sizes vary, and the pixels re-adjust themselves to rendering the layouts according to each device. Nightmare! This was when my ‘perfectionism’ got crushed. Pixel perfect did not exist in the world of websites! And I had no choice but to adjust. Simply said: I had to let go of the precision and embrace the flexibility.

The funky wallpaper I inherited.
The beautiful art deco chimney that still feels out of proportion!

Moving house and adjusting

As I moved house, I began to notice the details, the proportions of my living room furniture now placed in a much smaller space, the areas for circulation, how the light comes in, the views from each corner. It was quite overwhelming to try and ‘adjust’ everything. Some things were priority, like repainting some walls, but the rest… I had to let go. Again. Slow down. Sit amidst unopened boxes because I got rid all of my bookcases. Settle down and feel my new home in the unadjusted space.

And in this settling down and surrendering I began to see the possibilities, the minute spaces I have not noticed before that allowed me to shift the sofa just a little to make it feel more spacious. And my creativity began its gentle flow. Different, somehow anew.

This ability to see in detail also extends to feeling my clients. I can intuitively understand the depth of your Soul’s Vision and translate that into beautiful brands and websites.
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